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Zipse At The Track

2013 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint: A Furlong too Far

Reneesgotzip 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire


Six furlongs is the predominate distance for sprint races in America. More stakes races are run at that length than any other, and next month it will once again be the running distance of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, for the 30th time in 30 editions.

Visit the Breeders’ Cup website, and you will find the following description of one of the other 13 events of the World Championships: 

The Filly & Mare Sprint is run around one turn at 7 furlongs (about 1,500 yards) for the fastest females, 3-years-old and older.

At first glance, it seems innocuous enough, but as far as this year’s edition, I wonder. Maybe the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, first run in 2007, is not for the fastest females, but rather the ones best equipped to handle the extra furlong of the elongated sprint distance of seven furlongs.

I have no reservations in calling Reneesgotzip the fleetest filly in all the land. In fact, you could probably drop the filly part of that statement, and the statement would still work. After finishing 2012 with a second place finish to Book Review in the Grade 1 La Brea (at seven furlongs), the four-year-old filly has absolutely blitzed her competition in her only two starts this year. Much the best in both, Reneesgotzip effectively ended those races in the first three furlongs, yet you likely will not see her in the Filly & Mare Sprint.

It’s no wonder that her trainer, Peter Miller, has decided to look elsewhere to other Breeders’ Cup opportunities for his star female sprinter. In the five editions of the Filly & Mare Sprint that have been run at seven furlongs (the 2007 edition was contested at six furlongs because of the track configuration at Monmouth Park), the average finish of the early leader has been 8th, as illustrated by the chart below.



By comparison, the horse that led after a half-mile in the six furlong Breeders’ Cup Sprint, during the same five-year stretch, has fared considerably better. Take a look…



Now clearly there is more to this than just speed horses doing better at six furlongs than they do at seven furlongs, such as the respective pace of each race, and the relative quality of each front runner, but still these glaring stats are reason enough for the quickest female horses to cause for pause when considering the seven furlong Filly & Mare Sprint.

I cannot blame the connections of Reneesgotzip for looking at either the Sprint or Turf Sprint, over the seemingly more natural Filly & Mare Sprint. Those races, because of nothing more than distance, clearly fit her talents better than the race supposed to identify the best female sprinter in the land.


Wouldn't it be nice to see Reneesgotzip take on such stalwarts as Groupie Doll, Book Review, Judy the Beauty, Sweet Lulu and Dance to Bristol? Maybe the Breeders' Cup should change their description of the race to:


The Filly & Mare Sprint is run around one turn at 7 furlongs (about 1,500 yards) for the fastest females, 3-years-old and older, other than Reneesgotzip.


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Older Comments about 2013 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint: A Furlong too Far...

Flawed logic here on the chart that supposedly shows a bias. Absolutely none of those 5 horses were legitimate contenders in that race. Teddy's promise was 50-1 last year, Golden mystery 15-1, GGGal 8-1 with dubai majesty sitting a nice stalking spot behind the 2 speed horses....the problem isn't the distance, it's the class and inability of less quality animals trying to steal a race that is usually loaded with speed.
Brian, nice work!
I LOVE Dance to Bristol. she is my pick for the F&M Sprint.
She has greg.Racing at least in my eyes,is all about the trip.Of the 3 races she is cross entered. This comes up the easiest spot for her.She will face top notch World Class competition,in any of the 3 races they chose. But why abuse her in a race where there are many with her speed.Like i said,At the extra furlong she will run.It will be on a straightaway ,therefore no extra stress of the turn.I do not like her here.I love her if she runs. Dance Card is still the Ace in the Hole. To much class and ability. If Kiaran decides to run her,believe me.He is not flying cross country without a keg of Dynamite.He has to many opyions on the East Coast to do something silly.
i think she has been 2nd at a 1mile and 1 1/16th in grade one races. soo hmm i think she could get the 7.
For his sake ,i sure hope he changes his mind and goes in the F&M Sprint, From what looked as atough race ,is now getting softer by the day.Even in the Turf.With all that speed,Sets up for closers.This is the only spot where she can conceivably get away with a .45 . Should that happen,the field will have to "Sprout Wings to catch her" as Trevor says in his calls.
I think Miller was leaning more toward the Turf Sprint than either the Sprint or the F&M Sprint, Tom.
I do not know that ii is etched in stone,that Peter miller will be sending Renee to the Sprint against the boys.I so hope he has left a little wiggle room to change his mind.With the more than likely scratch of Cluster of Stars from the F&M Sprint. She now would become more than likely,the absolute loose speed horse in the field.The Distance of 7F should be no problem. She ran 2nd by a nose at the Distance in a G1 race as a 3yo. She is also placed in 2 G1 races at a mile and 1 1/16th . Personally, i do not think Groupie Doll is anywhere near the Mare she has been in the last 2 years. If Renee goes against the Boys,she will face extreme front end pressure,she may clear the lead.But at what cost.It will be asking alot of her to hold off the closers. Peter if you are listening ,the race just became a lot easier. Personally,i felt Dance Card would of been my play if Clusters remained. Should Renee ,come back and run in this spot.I now will have to go 2 deep in horses for this race. Rarely,do you run for this kind of money,and will more than likely control the pace at your leisure.
if it were shortened too much ON THAT COURSE others would argue that track conformation would be unfavorable, you cannot win such an argument
I couldn't agree more, a true sprint is 5-6 furlongs
I agree with you Brian. Not only would the distance be better for a sprint, it would also give the added element of being able to compare times in both the spring and f&m sprint which everyone loves to be able to do.
I agree, Shackleford ... that is likely why they went 7f.
Probably a middle ground, as there is no 6f Sprint or Dirt Mile for F&M. I would rather see those two races than a hodge podge race that fits neither type of horse..
I agree. No reason it should be 7f when the predominant distance is 6f.
Great charts to support your view. What's the history here, why 7F for the FM Sprint?

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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